Garzelli Wins at Terminillo, Takes Giro Lead
Stefano Garzelli (Vini Caldirola) leads the Giro.
Stefano Garzelli (Vini Caldirola) leads the Giro. The 2000 Giro champion outsprinted Gilberto Simoni (Saeco) to win Stage 7, a 146-km ride from Avezzano to Terminillo, in 3:55:19. Andrea Noe (Alessio) finished third at 0:02.
The peloton rode slowly out of Avezzano. Saeco rode tempo, and the bunch stayed together until 86 km, when Magnus Backstedt (Team Fakta), Elio Aggiano (Formaggio Pinzolo Fiave), Giuseppe Palumbo (De Nardi), and Cristiano Frattini and Oscar Pozzi (both from Tenax) rolled off of the front. The quintet's lead grew to a little over a minute before the peloton began to chase.
On the climb to Castelfranco, Vini Caldirola went to the front and split the peloton. The pressure continued during the descent and on the Terminillo climb. Petacchi dropped back, his days in pink about to end. Julio Perez and Giuliano Figueras (both from Panaria), Marco Pantani (Mercatone Uno), and Francesco Casagrande and Wladimir Belli (both from Lampre) followed suit. With 10 km left, Eddy Mazzoleni (Vini Caldirola) towed teammate Garzelli, Simoni and Marius Sabaliauskas (both from Saeco), Yaroslav Popovych (Landbouwkrediet), Raimondas Rumsas (Lampre), Franco Pellizotti and Andrea Noe (Alessio), and Pavel Tonkov (CCC).
With seven km remaining, Sabaliauskas went to the front to ride tempo for Simoni. Pellizotti dropped off of the pace. With six km left, Simoni attacked, and only Garzelli could stay with him.
Simoni attacked repeatedly, but he could not drop Garzelli. Noe caught the leaders with 2.5 km remaining, but Simoni dropped him again with another attack. The Alessio rider got back on and stayed with Simoni and Garzelli until the sprint, which Garzelli won easily.
In the overall, Garzelli leads Simoni by 0:31 and Noe by 0:44. Stage 9 will not change this state of affairs. The 214-km ride from Rieti to Arezzo will be a rolling affair that should end in a bunch sprint. Who will win? Petacchi? McEwen? Cipollini? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!
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